How Art Lessons made me a better engineer

This past year was the first year I took on a Saturday morning teaching role, for both adults and kids.  I loved every minute of it and met some amazing people, but also had some eye opening moments about why art education is so important!

When 11-year-old Grace (name changed) first came to my classes, she was shy and quiet and refused to do anything without very specific instructions.  If I told her to pick up a brush, she would ask me, “which brush?”.  And if I asked her to squeeze out some paint for her sky, she would say, “which colour?”

Now, I hear some of you saying, “That’s exactly how I would be!”.  But we teachers expect a level of help needed to get going.  What Grace had was a dead fear to make any decision at all – from what to paint to how to paint it.  This didn’t seem normal to me for a kid.

Somewhere along the line she has been taught that there is a specific formula, a black-and-white right answer, for everything.

One day I sat Grace down and explained something to her.  “You’re the artist!”, I said.  “You can do whatever you want!  And if you make a mistake, I’m here to help you fix it.  But go ahead and have fun!”.  Her eyes opened wide and I could almost watch the lightbulb turning on!  She gave me a huge grin along with a sigh of relief.  Her spirit had been unshackled.

I thought her paintings would be worse for a while as she got her bearings.  But I was wrong!  Grace’s paintings were immediately wonderful, incredible for an 11-year-old, and most of all – HERS!

Art teaches kids to trust their own decision making.

There are literally hundreds of decisions going into any painting, at any level, whether conscious or sub-conscious.  That is hundreds of times that a child (or adult for that matter!) has to trust themselves.

Imagine the confidence that stems from the result!

I will be back teaching painting again this year.  Stay tuned for more information on adult and children’s classes, as well as – new! – workshops!

Yours in paint,


In our house, back to school means back to art lessons!   Both my girls are old enough this year to join my classes with the other kids – yay!  See Miss Maya’s (8 YO) Starry Night interpretation below!



  1. Great color and great yellow and yes I have been thinking about this lately and art just makes me feel free and that’s how I know.


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